First off I wonder how many people actually remember that there was a shooting at Florida State a few weeks ago? But I digress.
The week before last Myron May shot up the library at Florida State University, injuring three before police shot and killed him. According to some people who knew him May was extremely mentally disturbed. He allegedly thought that the government was stalking him with an ‘energy weapon’. He is also said to have called police to report a hidden camera in his apartment even though police failed to find anything. This was beyond your typical conspiracy theory nonsense and devolved into dangerous paranoia.
The question is what could have been done to help May before he became dangerously violent? People who are this disconnected with reality aren’t going to seek help for themselves since more than likely they perceive any one in any kind of authority as a threat. His family could have had him held for his own safety but we don’t know if they were aware of his mental illness. He also must have been good at hiding his illness because his co-workers and colleagues said he was fine. However some of his neighbors lived in fear of him.
Unfortunately even in a perfect world I don’t think May could have been stopped. He was a perfect storm of mental illness, violence and just enough of an actor to hide his psychosis from those who could have gotten him help legally. Even if the act of asking for psychiatric help was less stigmatized in our culture I don’t think that would have made a difference.
UPDATE 1/11/2015: The autopsy showed that May had meth in his system which could explain a lot. If he was using while mentally ill it could have magnified his illness and if he was using before he became ill it could have made him that way.